Volume 12, Issue 28 ~ July 8-14, 2004
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Dock of the Bay

Democratic Delegate Wins Ehrlich’s
Sue Kullen to be Calvert’s first woman in the General Assembly

It’s taken the votes of only a handful of people to win political newcomer Sue Kullen the job of representing northern Calvert County in the Maryland House of Delegates.

On June 24, a majority of the 10-member Calvert County Democratic Central Commitee voted to recommend Kullen, one of six applicants, to the governor to fill the remaining two-and-a-half-year term George Owings had relinquished to head Maryland’s Department of Veterans Affairs.

This week, Gov. Robert Ehrlich cast the deciding vote. After meeting in Government House with the 44-year-old self-employed disabilities advocate, Ehrlich confirmed her appointment.

photo by Louis Llovio
Maryland’s newest delegate, Sue Kullen, fills the seat of Calvert’s George Owings, who’s moves on to head Maryland’s Department of Veterans Affairs.
“I am confident that Sue Kullen will represent the people of Calvert County with honesty, integrity and fairness,” Ehrlich said. “I look forward to working with her in the coming months as a member of Maryland’s General Assembly.”

Kullen is now planning a public swearing-in that, she said, “is going to be a celebration for Calvert.”

“I’m the county’s first woman delegate, and it’s a new day,” she said. “It’s our 350th anniversary. We appreciate the past as we look into the future.”

Her issues for the future are, she said, an “educational focus on the whole child,” the environment and safe highways.

Anticipating the governor’s promised approval, Kullen went to work early. In Calvert’s 350th anniversary celebration July 3, she did her first ribbon cutting. With a portentous snip of the scissors, she opened for public inspection at Jefferson Patterson Park and Museum the reconstructed office of Calvert’s longest serving politician, Louis Goldstein, late comptroller and legendary Mr. Maryland.

Come 2006, Kullen will have to win 51 percent of the vote in a district 35,000 people strong. She faces a certain challenge from Republicans, who’d love to make history of their own by taking a Democratic seat. She could also have primary opposition within her own party to keep her seat.

Maryland’s longest serving senate president, Mike Miller, who heads Kullen’s delegation, offered the new delegate advice that could have come from Mr. Maryland. “I’d take my case to the people immediately, knocking on doors of Democrats and Republicans alike, introducing myself and starting to raise some campaign funds. The Republicans will come after her with everything they’ve got.”

That, said Kullen, was just what she was planning to do. As well as reaching out to organized groups, she’s proposing weekly office hours at both of Calvert’s locally owned Common Grounds coffee houses. Meet her there or set your own date. “Call me,” says Kullen: 410-586-9575; psue@prodigy.net.

—SOM

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Free Comics!
Kids of all ages line up

Kids lined up at the cash register at Twilite Zone Comics in Glen Burnie July 3. But they weren’t lining up to pay; they were lining up for free comics.

The small brick storefront on Crain Highway was one of three regional comic book stores joining in a worldwide event: Free Comic Book Day.

The third annual event is an international promotion to draw a new audience to the art form.

photo by Louis Llovio
Bump Moyer was all smiles despite giving away more than 1,000 comic books at his Twilite Zone Comics for Free Comic Book Day.
Two million comics were given out in 1,900 stores worldwide, according to Barry Lyga of Diamond Comics, an organizer of the event.

“There are comics for everyone,” said Twilite Zone’s owner Bump Moyer. “But especially for people who think they would never read a comic book.”

Splayed across the counter were comic versions of television shows 24 and C.S.I. as well as standards like Spiderman and Archie.

Moyer already has a loyal clientele that he hopes will expand after the event.

He also looks to change, at least a little, the face of his standard customer.

“Most of my customers,” he says, “are people that come in here monthly or weekly and buy titles they follow regularly. They’re usually over 20, and 95 percent of them are male.”

The customers walking in July 3 for free comics were decidedly younger.

“It was more family oriented,” said Moyer of the 400 people who walked through his store, doubling his usual Saturday customer count.

The tiny store two blocks off busy Route 2 gave away over 1,000 books.

According to Moyer, industry standards say 70 percent of the people who walked through his door will be back by Christmas.

“They come back,” he said, “because something was actually free with no strings attached.

“Free comic books,” he laughed. “You can’t beat that.”

—Louis Llovio

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The Early Bird Seeks the Vote
With only 788 days to go to Election Day ’06, John Leopold had better hurry

When gardening down the backroads of Shady Side — especially on a cloudy Sunday evening — you expect to meet neighbors, cats and slugs. What you don’t expect is a delegate from Pasadena.

“Elizabeth?” inquired a slender fellow approaching the garden where Bay Weekly staffer Betsy Kehne hunched over out-of-control coneflowers.

“Yes?” she said from behind a three-foot weed.

“I’m delegate John Leopold. Do you recognize my name?”

“I do, actually,” said she, as he checked her name on his clipboard.

“I’m running for county executive,” he said, handing over a flier of his legislative achievements. “I hope you’ll look over my accomplishments and consider voting for me when the time comes.”

And then he was gone, on to the next house.

Kehne is one of thousands of voters Leopold has met since beginning his run for Anne Arundel County executive about a year ago. The Republican primary election for county executive, which he must win to advance to the November general election, is not until September 12, 2006. That makes Leopold the marathoner of campaigning.

“Figure two dozen or so homes a day over maybe 250 days, and I’ve stopped by six or seven thousand homes. I mostly concentrate outside my area,” the Republican delegate told Bay Weekly. “Every person you meet, there’s something interesting about them. That’s the exciting thing for me.”

It’s a good thing that Leopold enjoys being out on the campaign trail. With Anne Arundel County’s registered voters numbering more than 287,000, he has well over 200,000 more homes to call on.
“It’s a big county,” says Leopold, a former school teacher who makes politics a full-time job. “Even if I were to do this for three full years — and I can’t during session — I’d only meet about a quarter of the people. I do it because I’ve learned from experience there’s no substitute for personal contact.”

Leopold has plenty of experience. The 61-year-old has run in 19 elections, for positions from governor of Hawaii to delegate to the Republican National Convention. He’s won 16 times.

In those winning races, he’s earned jobs as convention delegate; Hawaii’s only Republican school board member, ever; delegate to the Hawaii House for two terms; Hawaii senator for one term; and Maryland delegate from District 31 for 20 years, from 1983 to 1990 and since 1995.

Running for state Senate in Hawaii, he says, “I campaigned 375 days almost consecutively. If I had not, I would not have won. I could write a book about campaigning.”

With the primary election for which he’s headed nearly 800 days in the future, the county has not yet opened its filing period, so no one is an official candidate. Still, it’s a job other Republicans have their minds on. Candidates Philip Bissett and Tom Angelis from 2002 are expected to run, as is first-time contender Dirk Haire.

Leopold is not waiting for them to get the jump on him.

“There’s no such thing as early in politics,” he says. “Only late.”

If he hasn’t visited your neighborhood, you might meet him on the street. He’s the tall, thin guy waving the Leopold sign at busy intersections.

“I like to win,” says John Leopold, “so it takes time.”

—SOM

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Ask the Plant Professor
Fair and Foul in the Garden

Q What native plants should I plant along a brick wall facing west to attract birds and butterflies?

A Native perennials to consider are rudbeckia, tiarella, columbine, asclepis, Joe-Pye weed, monarda, coreopsis and veronica. Shrubs include Ilex verticillata (your need a male and female to produce berries), blueberries, clethra and maple-leaved, Southern or smooth arrowwood viburnums.

Q I have an extremely foul smelling unknown thing growing out of mulch in my flower bed. It is about 2 inches tall, tubular, white on the bottom, pink in the middle and red on top. When broken open, I see a spongy texture inside. When pulled up, it barely has roots. Any idea what this is?

A This is the stinkhorn fungus. Strange, isn’t it? It appears briefly when a spore floats in and the conditions are right, often popping up in mulch because fungi live on dead organic material. You can remove it if you like, but it will disappear shortly on its own. Often stinkhorns have no scent at all, their name not withstanding. Enjoy it as a fleeting phenomenon of nature. You may never see one again.

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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Way Downstream …

In Annapolis, they’re getting around to making it illegal to own that dreaded, voracious, air-breathing, creeping snakehead. Draft regulations released last week by Department of Natural Resources would prohibit Marylanders from possessing nearly 30 kinds of non-native fish, including the Snakehead. As it stands, it’s only illegal to import them…

On the Eastern Shore, a study has found that a ferry from Crisfield to Reedville, Va., could make more than $1 million annually — after federal money to get it going. The study by a Baltimore consultant figures that the ferries would run between 16.5 and 20 knots; cars would be charged $40 and trucks $65, the Salisbury Daily Times reports…

Parisiennes finally can swim on their own shore now that a huge pool has been built next to sandy beaches created alongside the River Seine. Paris Plage (Paris Beach) stretches for two miles from the Louvre to the Ile St. Louis. The Seine, by the way, is too polluted for swimming…

Our Creature Feature comes from India, where Bombay is coping with a mysterious disaster: attacks by leopards springing from the huge forest outside the city. Ten people have died in the last month, among them a priest mauled on Sunday night near a temple.

Authorities say that never before has a rash of wild animal attacks like this occurred in Bombay, and they have concluded that the leopards are starving. So shortly they plan to release hundreds of pigs and rabbits in the forest in hopes of satisfying the big cats’ hunger.

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© COPYRIGHT 2004 by New Bay Enterprises, Inc. All rights reserved.